Marjoram is a perennial plant native to West Asia and the Mediterranean basin. It is eaten as a spice and its flavor close to oregano is used in Italian and Greek dishes. Its small down-covered leaves differentiate it from oregano.
Characteristics of marjoram:
- Source of antioxidants;
- Source of vitamin K;
- Contains copper and potassium;
- Fight against the onset of certain pathologies;
- Regulates cholesterol in the blood.
What is marjoram?
Marjoram identity card
- Type: Spices;
- Family: Lamiaceae;
- Origin: West Asia and the Mediterranean basin;
- Season: April to August;
- Green color ;
- Flavor: Subtle.
Characteristics of marjoram
Marjoram is a perennial plant up to 60 cm tall. Its leaves are small, green and fluffy.
Differences with nearby foods
Marjoram is close to thyme and oregano. It is nicknamed “Oregano from the garden”. However, it has a more subtle flavor than these two other spices and is generally used fresh.
Word from the nutritionist
Herbs are usually not consumed in large quantities. Used as seasonings, they cannot then provide all the health benefits attributed to them. Adding herbs regularly and significantly to food contributes, if only in a minimal way, to the antioxidant intake of the diet. On the other hand, consumption of herbs alone cannot meet the body’s antioxidant needs.
Per 100g of raw marjoram:
|Vitamin C||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin A||1007 µg|
|Vitamin B9||237 µg|
5 benefits of marjoram: why eat it?
- Antioxidants are compounds that reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the body. The latter are very reactive molecules which are implicated in the appearance of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and diseases linked to aging. Some researchers have evaluated the antioxidant capacity of herbs and all agree that fresh herbs demonstrate a significant antioxidant capacity, sometimes even higher than that of certain fruits and vegetables. This shows that adding herbs on a regular basis to the diet contributes to the intake of antioxidants. Marjoram which, added to a salad, would increase the antioxidant capacity of this dish by four times. The main active compound in marjoram is rosmarinic acid, but other phenolic compounds, such as apigenin, luteolin and carnosic acid could also be responsible for the antioxidant effect of these herbs. It should be noted that the antioxidant activity of herbs has not been evaluated in humans.
- Certain marjoram extracts could inhibit the activity of an intestinal enzyme (in rats), thus exerting a hypoglycemic effect. Some flavonoids of marjoram exerted this same effect, suggesting that they would play a role in decreasing the blood sugar. While all of these results are interesting, it is important to note that they have never been confirmed by larger studies, including randomized human studies.
- Dehydrated marjoram is a source. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of proteins that play a role in blood clotting (both in stimulation and in inhibition of blood clotting). It also participates in bone formation. In addition to being found in food, vitamin K is manufactured by bacteria present in the intestine, hence the rarity of deficiencies in this vitamin.
- Dehydrated marjoram is a good source of iron for men and a source of iron for women, their needs for this mineral being different. Iron is essential for oxygen transport and the formation of red blood cells. It also participates in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters. It should be noted that the iron contained in plants is less absorbed by the organism than the iron of food of animal origin. However, the absorption of iron from plants is favored if it is consumed with certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.
- Dehydrated marjoram is a source for women, but not for men. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals.
How to choose your marjoram
The leaves should be very green and not wilted.
In the fridge: one or two weeks, wrapped in a damp cloth or paper towel.
In the dehydrator: hang the plants in a warm and dry place, away from light or put them in the dehydrator or in an oven set to low temperature. Keep cool and dry in opaque jars or terracotta pots.
Preparation of marjoram
How to cook it? How to match it?
- In stews and tomato dishes, especially ratatouille; the marjoram is splendid in the goulash.
- In dishes based on lamb, pork, chicken and goose.
- In omelets and other egg dishes, pizza, green beans and mushrooms, pasta, polenta or rice.
- In soups, dishes or potato salads, tomato sandwiches, salsas.
- In minestrone or in this black bean soup: soak the latter for at least two hours, then cook them in water or vegetable or chicken broth, with garlic and onion beforehand income in olive oil. Add a good amount of cilantro or parsley leaves, hot pepper (optional), paprika, marjoram, and cook for about an hour and a half. Add, if desired, dried tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes more.
- Lentil and spinach soup. Brown onion in oil, add coarsely chopped spinach, cumin, coriander powder and paprika, as well as marjoram, broth and lentils. Cook for about an hour or until the lentils are tender.
- In all cabbage dishes, including this salad: finely chopped cabbage, grated carrots, minced red onion, diced red pepper and, if desired, jalapeno pepper. Drizzle with a dressing of oil and lemon, seasoned with parsley, garlic, marjoram, salt and pepper.
- Add them to the fillings.
- Marjoram can be added to the bouquet garni or in other mixtures of herbs.
- Flavor the aroma of marjoram fish, as well as veal or beef liver.
- Season the vegetables to be grilled (eggplant, zucchini, pepper, onion).
- Add it to bread preparations like fougasse or sprinkle it with pita bread.
- Macerate them for a few weeks in vinegar, filter and use this vinegar to flavor dishes or deglaze a pan; you can also marinate olives in oil with marjoram.
Marjoram contains vitamin K. This vitamin, necessary among other things for blood clotting, can be manufactured by the body in addition to being found in certain foods. People taking blood thinners, such as those marketed under the names Coumadin®, Warfilone® and Sintrom®, should eat a diet in which the vitamin K content is relatively stable from day to day. Herbs, including marjoram and oregano, contain vitamin K and should therefore be used as a seasoning only. People on anticoagulation therapy are advised to consult a dietitian-nutritionist or a doctor in order to know the food sources of vitamin K and to ensure the most stable daily intake possible.
History of marjoram
The term “marjoram” appeared in the language in 1398. It would derive from the ancient Latin name of the plant, amaracum , itself borrowed from the Greek amarakos .
According to a legend, Amarakos was the name of a servant of the king of Cyprus who unfortunately escaped a very expensive perfume bottle and who hid to escape the punishment. To punish him, the gods transformed him into a marjoram. But another legend wants rather that this plant was created by Venus with the aim of treating a wound which had been inflicted to him by one of the arrows of Cupid.
Marjoram and oregano belong to the same botanical genus, which includes more than 50 species. Native to western Asia and the Mediterranean basin, these two herbs have been used for a long time in Europe, especially in Greece, where many species grow in the wild. The Egyptians used marjoram and oregano to embalm their dead and appease the gods, while in the first century AD, Pliny the Elder recommended them to aid digestion.
Marjoram was also established in America in the early days of colonization. In his Travel Journal in North America , botanist Peter Khalm wrote in 1749 that he grew quite a few in a vegetable garden in Quebec City. However, it is hardly used in cooking today, although its flavor is both finer and richer than that of its cousin, oregano.
Essential oils are used in the marjoram which are used in the food industry as well as in perfumery and cosmetics.
Both oregano and marjoram are perennial, but since the latter does not tolerate cold temperatures, it is grown as an annual in temperate climates. It can also be stuffed in the fall and brought inside for the winter, by placing it on a window sill to the south. It can be propagated by cuttings the following spring. Both prefer sandy or stony soil, which drains well, and a neutral pH. Sow the seeds in a container in April to transplant them to the garden once the risk of frost has been ruled out.
Prune regularly to promote the growth of side branches or remove two thirds of the plant when it begins to flower. New stems will appear and allow a second harvest in the fall.